Bangladeshi blogger arrested for criticising Islam

A Bangladeshi blogger has been arrested for criticising Islam, the International Business Times reports.

Islamic activists demanded capital punishment for a group of bloggers.Reuters

Human rights campaigners have called for Mohon Kumar Mondal to be released after he was arrested for questioning the rationality of Islam's Hajj pilgrimage and criticising the Saudi government for the stampede that killed hundreds of Muslim worshippers last month.

In a Facebook post which was later removed, Mondal blamed the Saudi Arabian government for not preventing the tragedy in which over 2,000 are believed to have been killed. He also questioned the Islamic ritual of throwing stones at the devil during Hajj, saying "such devils were roaming everywhere."

Mondal is currently in jail and his brother told the IBTimes that he had been refused bail. He is held under laws which prohibit the publication of material which "hurts or is likely to hurt religious sentiments."

However human rights groups have criticised this law.

"Such prohibitions also often stifle dissent and criticism from believers, religious minorities and non-believers alike," said Simon Hughes,the executive director of Article 19, a freedom of speech organisation.

"The Bangladeshi authorities must immediately drop all charges against Mohon Kumar Mondal and rectify this restriction of online expression."

This is the latest in a list of crackdowns by the Bangladeshi authorities on bloggers criticising Islam. Four people have been hacked to death in machete attacks in Bangladesh since the beginning of the year. An online hit list of atheist bloggers was also published online by the Islamist group, Ansarullah Bangla Team.

Many bloggers have since been forced to flee Bangladesh.